• 19 Oct 2014 /  Reviews



    “It is among you… waiting!”

    A.k.a. Midnight Caller

    Director/Writer: Percival Rubens / Cast: Jennifer Holmes, Cameron Mitchell, Craig Gardner, Zoli Markey, Mark Tanous, Moira Winslow, Peter J. Elliott.

    Body Count: 7

    Laughter Lines: “Just because I’m not married even my mother thinks I’m on the other side.”


    Believe it or not – and I probably wouldn’t – this Dutch/South African production has some of the best acting I’ve ever witnessed in a slasher movie, thanks to some well crafted dialogue from writer/director Rubens (at least most of it anyway), but stalls at two stars because it’s so excruciatingly boring until the last twenty minutes, when the Halloween clichés start to come thick and fast.

    Mitchell plays a detective who is “just someone who’s been gifted with ESP” investigating the kidnapping of a girl from her bedroom by a mystery killer who wears – but unfortunately rarely uses – a steel-clawed glove, and is now after pretty kindergarten teacher Holmes, who’s seriously-misinformed cousin Jo is dating a slick disco bunny. Both of those two are doomed, natch.

    Simply one of the weirdest flicks you will ever see; Mitchell’s character never even comes within spitting distance of Holmes, and is eventually shot dead by the kidnapped (and now dead) girl’s mother  (“did your ESP see this coming?”) and the two plots only have the killer to relate them!

    The final showdown between heroine and killer is rousing enough, on the heels of her attempted escape in nothing but panties. Alas, too many boring murders (usually strangulations and asphyxiations) and the damage is done. Look for the sign to “Boobs Disco”.

    Blurbs-of-interest: Cameron Mitchell was also in Valley of Death, Jack-O, Toolbox Murders, and Silent Scream.

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  • 13 Oct 2014 /  Read

    I’ve been at it again, pen to paper (or rather fingers-to-keyboard) and today sees the ‘release’ of my third foray into horror-literature with The Blood Season, a brazen homage to all things Friday the 13th.

    On the last night at Camp Conquest, a sports and drama summer camp for teens, a particularly inventive and vicious sociopath sets about realising his (or her?) dream, and begins murdering the remaining staff and campers.

    This was originally written some years back and, during the subsequent drafting, I was surprised at how gruesome and sadistic it became in places. Thus, the published version has been somewhat ‘toned-down’ (a less intended tribute to Friday‘s MPAA battles). But there’s still a ballistic body count, castrations (ouch!), death-by-swingball, decaps, throat-slashings, amongst others…

    All of this carnage for £1.92/$3.09!

    (Click your currency to take you there. Or, visit thy country’s own Amazon. I really should know where it’s available, don’t ya think?)

  • In this feature, we examine the lesser beings of the slasher movie realm, which, if you’re making your own slasher film, could provide a good cast roster for you.

    No killer or final girl profiles here, this is a celebration of those underlings who made the most of their fleeting flirtation with stardom. And usually died.

    This month, we’re looking at the dope smokin’, pot lovin’, STONERS!

    Overview: In the realm of the slasher film, just as most groups of young people feature some hot lesbian chicks, a black girl with attitude, an asshole jock, amongst others, so does they include a post-hippie movement stoner; a boy (or girl) who lives to smoke the wacky tobaccy. This is because, in film generally, people are entirely one-dimensional.

    Linguistic Snapshot: “Chill out, man, things’ll be OK… let’s just smoke the rest of this joint and worry about finding the others later…”

    Styling: Stoners aren’t particularly dressy folk; comfortable, loose-fitting clothes seem to be the going-thing, unkempt, often long hair for guys, sideburns or Shaggy-style beardery… Girls favour floral prints, the occasional headband, perhaps small round Ozzy Osbourne-esque sunglasses.

    Hallmarks: Stoners are amongst the most disposable of slasher movie stock backgrounders because, like slutty girls, aggressive jocks et al, they are coded as morally corrupt by the puritanical overlords who decide only nice boys and girls will get the chance to fight another day. Thus, while providing approximately 78% of the jokes in any given slasher movie, there’s rarely anything of substance to be glimpsed beneath the hazy surface.

    To quote previous SBC prankster Shelly in Friday the 13th Part III: “Is that all you two are going to do this weekend – smoke dope? There are better things to do with your life…” To which, the hollow reply is: “I can’t think of any.”

    Would’ve been awesome if Chili had instead said: “Yes, Shelly, there are. All this week I was working on a cure for cancer, then I saved some endangered birds, fed the homeless, started a Human Rights campaign so now… I just wanna forget all that and get stoned. PROBLEM?”

    It’s only smokage man… Cut ‘em some slack, overlord-Jack.

    Downfall: Typically, in their permanent state of cloudy-mind, the Stoner will die and barely even realise it. This is likely supposed to be some right-wing sponsored lesson in drugs = death. However, one awesome chink the chain is in R.S.V.P. where ‘modern day alchemist’ Terry (played by professional Stoner Jason Mewes) is made immune to the poison he ingests thanks to the concoction of drugs he’s been on for years. See also The Cabin in the Woods for a similar, weightier outcome.

    Genesis: Kids n’ drugs n’ psycho killers have been chugging along in the background of the genre since its early days. Barely a Friday the 13th passes without a joint being handed around, and the quintet of camper-van cruisin’ youngsters in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre were surefire candidates for a good time. In a genre which really came together in the 70s, this should be no surprise. However, possibly the earliest representation of drug use equating to bad moral standards is found in Halloween, where good-girl Laurie tries to fit in with her more worldy friends by toking on Annie’s rollie, only to suffer a coughing fit.

    Legacy: Since Laurie failed at being a pothead, this shortcut to doom has been used over and over again to stamp ‘dead’ on the foreheads of various teens. Beyond all the Friday usage, there’s the girl who tries weed and sex for the first time on the same night and dies literally seconds later in Prom Night; the ‘Shit Sisters’ of Sleepaway Camp II, who are so far gone they barely realise the killer is barbecuing them alive; and the neo-hippies of The Tripper, stuck in the 60s, branching out to acid, and suffering the effects of slow-reaction times when the Ronald Reagan-disguised loon comes at them.

    The stoners in The Cabin in the Woods and Simon Says both harbour deep crushes on the final girl and, in the latter, is willing to sacrifice himself so that she can live. Awww…

    Can you try drugs and live? Why yes. Just because Laurie choked, doesn’t mean that a little toke here and there spells doom: Alice has a little smoke in the original Friday and is the only survivor (though she dies at the beginning of Part 2); and the final girl in the aforementioned Tripper is spared (though she ‘learns’ drugs are bad). But these mercies are few and far between.

    Conclusions: Don’t do drugs, kidz! …is the standard lesson of the slasher film realm. Like pre-marital sex, taking an interest in the gothic, experimenting with your sexuality, or playing pranks – more often than not it earns you a one way ticket to the boneyard. Who knew slasher films were so conservative? Well, all of us. But there’s a certain irony isn’t there? The Mary Whitehouses of the world were all “blah, morals, blah, blasphemy, blah, downfall of society…” when if they’d actually watched a slasher film, they’d see that all the sins they moan about were being addressed and answered with a cleaver in the face.

    If you wanna smoke pot, go right ahead, enjoy your life but be forewarned that it tends to mean you’ll DIE*

    *if you’re in a slasher film.

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  • 04 Oct 2014 /  Reviews



    “Another slice of life.”

    Director: Lewis Schoenbrun / Writer: Ian Holt / Cast: Costas Mandylor, Ed Brigadier, Chelsey Crisp, Robert Adamson, Ashley McCarthy, Butch Hansen, Chase Hoyt, Deidre Kidwell, Sylvia Zabransky, Benjamin Keepers.

    Body Count: 16

    Laughter Lines: “I want you to meet someone… My. Inner. Bitch!”


    Upon sitting down to watch Dr. Chopper the other day, I was struck by the number of bad omens in the air… It was muggy outside with a threat of thunder and there was laundry on the line; there was a trailer for Mr Halloween on the DVD; no sooner did the credits begin to lumber by, I began to feel like I was sliding down a slope towards a pit of hopelessness… Then ‘the acting’ began.

    So it goes, in the mid-80s, super surgeon to the stars Dr Max Fielding and his sexy nurses cut parts off of nubile young folk in an effort to halt the aging process. Cops come, over act, Dr Chopper has ridden away. On his motorcycle. A chopper. Of course.

    Twenty years later, moody college brat Nicholas learns of his late mother’s cabin in the boonies at Lake Tatonka (“A friendly place for happy people”) and is convinced by perky girlfriend Jessica to invite a gaggle of their friends up there for the weekend. Without having seen how crap the shack is. It turns out to be, quite literally, a one-room shed.

    But before that, oh look, something there’s just not enough of in low-end slasher films, it’s the olde lesbian make-out scene. Seriously, let’s have one film – one - with a couple of hot guys making out.

    Meanwhile, a po-faced Park Ranger played by Costas Mandylor, before he became a central player in the Saw movies, growls and moans about life while trying to induct/scare off a junior ranger. Love of his life died because he wasn’t a good chiropractor, apparently. I know… I was like, “Huh? You can die from chiropody?”

    The uninteresting teenagers almost get run over by a grey-skinned old man on his chopper (Dr Chopper!!! Look out, teens!) but before that, a quintet of sorority girls on some hazing stunt in the woods are stabbed to death by the two nurses. This scene is bizarre: Two senior sorority chicks make them take their tops off (allowing bras to remain) and make them look for sticks while they smoke a spliff. Then the nurses come and do away with all of them in about 47 seconds and none of it is mentioned again.

    Eventually, the Doc and his minions attack the cabin, sending the surviving kids on the run, they mow down one of the nurses (“that bitch is road pizza!”) but she returns later, apparently unscathed.

    They’re captured, a completely unsurprising twist is revealed. Even the nominal heroine seems bored by it. Then she’s on the run, collides with Moody Ranger, and they fight off Dr Chopper together.

    Plenty of blah around reversing and regenerating cells so “we can live foreeeeever!” is spat out during the exposition, although why the killer permanently wears his motorcycle goggles is never addressed, and the disfigurement of his nurses (who’ve barely aged in two decades – hey, maybe it does work!?) isn’t explained.

    Imagine a film held together with a bunch of old band aids, all curled up at the edges, with bits of dirt and hair stuck to them. That’s Dr. Chopper. However, if you’re feeling fiendish and want to laugh at the entirety of a cheap production, then look no further: Fleeing victims run away from the lights of salvation into the woods; a guy’s ear is supposedly cut off, yet still clearly visible attached to the actor’s head…

    In short, Dr. Chopper makes Dr. Giggles look like Dr. Zhivago.

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  • 29 Sep 2014 /  Reviews



    “Scarier than hell!”

    Directors: Doug Evans & Michael Hawkins-Burgos / Writers: Doug Evans & J.J. Shebesta / Cast: Bobbie Jo Westphal, Michael Hawkins-Burgos, Angela Kane, Reaca Pearl, Jeff Lee, Doug Evans, Vanessa Yuille, Jonathan Wainwright.

    Body Count: 10


    A bizarre horror anthology strung together against the backdrop of a gory little slasher opus.

    Main character Cassie can dream the future, proven by forecasting the murder of her mother years earlier. Having experienced dreams concerning some old high school friends, she takes the most ridiculous action conceivable and invites them to a bogus reunion at a dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere: the perfect location for an all-out stalk n’ slash-a-thon.

    We take intermittent detours into Cassie’s nightmares, which range from the acceptably strange (a sibling’s prank on his sister that goes too far) to head-scratchingly ludicrous (rock-monsters that come to life in the dark) via the mundanely twisted (a hit and run accident that gets progressively worse for the driver…)

    Meanwhile, the teens in the house under-react to the rising body count, as they’re decapitated and hacked one by one. Ultimately, the coda wraps it up neatly enough, but the vignettes are so leftfield that it pulls the rug right out from under the confused viewer’s tootsies. Annoying more than anything.

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